I am tired, hear me grumble -- 09/13/03

I left work early on Friday -- I was very tired, didn't even get to work until around nine o'clock and by noon I was ready to leave except I had a one o'clock telephone conference scheduled and I was trying to move large files across the network while I had access to T1 bandwidth. Finally, around three o'clock I packed up and headed for home. At that point I had worked around sixty-seven hours. [At this point Doug is no doubt muttering "see, you need a union"   --   *grin*]

The previous week I had taken Labor Day off and still managed to work around forty-seven hours or so on Tuesday through Friday.

I was teaching a class on Monday and Tuesday of this week and so the week before I was attempting to get the class set up. This class required that the student machines be able to access a backend system but that backend system had apparently decided to refuse to communicate with any other machine. Let's just say Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week were somewhat stressful. Friday I was having difficulty matching up the proper release versions of the different programs I needed to install on the student machines. Saturday I came in and installed software on the machines in the classroom. Late that afternoon, as I was testing the projection system and the readability of the graphics I had loaded onto the instructor workstation, the instructor workstation decided to go with the Windows blue screen of death. Okay, reboot, work successfully for a few more minutes. Windows blue screen of death again. [Our classrooms had been converted from token ring to ethernet a few months ago but for this class I had to put them back to token ring -- the token ring card was missing from the instructor machine, so I had had to track one down in a drawer full of used cards, apparently it had some problems.] Since it was already around six o'clock, I took this as a sign that I had already put in too many hours for a Saturday, so I went home and when I came in on Monday morning, I replaced the malfunctioning machine with a different PC.

The only good thing I can say about the class is that it was only two days long. It was designed for an audience of programmers from a mainframe background who had no web background but had to learn how to start using this new product that would take those character based "green screens" and turn them into web pages. This was based on a training workshop built by a colleague from another division of my company. My task had been to take some of the material from his course, massage it and rearrange it to fit our design standards, give it the "look & feel" of our courses, and add an introduction to basic web programming -- basic HTML code, a brief bit on JSPs, and web architecture (TCP/IP, web servers, web application servers). I had told management that I should not be teaching this course, that it should be taught by the guy whose material I had used to write it. This was partly because I just did not have that much experience with this new product and partly because as part of this another instructor was to be trained to teach this new course and also attending would be a course developer who was going to write the "advanced" course for this product and I felt both of them would do better working with somebody who was one of the leading experts on this product -- and besides all that, because I have been struggling with the transition to my new position over the past three months and I was getting tired of being responsible for handling both jobs.

So when management told me the other guy was unavailable and that I would have to teach the course, I pointed out that if the audience were to match the target audience according to the course description ("mainframe programmers without HTML and web experience") I didn't think I would have any difficulty... BUT, if they were people who were already experienced with the product and had come to this introductory course seeking advanced knowledge, I would not be able to satisfy them. Don't worry, I was told, the audience will match the description. Uh-huh... I'll bet you know what happened. Yep, had four people -- who had been working with the product and were looking for advanced training, wanted to know how functionality from a related product was going to be folded into a future release of this product, lots of "what if" application architecture questions, etc. -- and they weren't even from customers who had bought the product, they were from consulting companies that hoped to get contracts to work with customers. (And they had no interest at all in any of the half a day that covered web basics because they had all been doing that stuff for years.)

Let's just say that none of us were very happy.

Most of the rest of my hours were spent doing all my other tasks, the stuff for my new position that I was days behind on because of all the time sucked up by preparing the hardware and software for this class and then teaching the class. I brought my laptop home and maybe I'll boot it up on Sunday and try to get a head start on the coming week, but today I am just relaxing.

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